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First $100 laptop runs Linux

Sep 4, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 14 views

In October, Shenzhen China-based HiVision will ship a MIPs-based Linux mini-notebook for $98. The company is currently offering a similar machine for $120, according to a video blog report from the Internationale Funkausstellunga (IFA) consumer electronics show in Berlin this week.

Bestlink's Alpha 400
(Click for details)

HiVision's current offering, the “mini-Note,” appears to use one of the several MIPS-based processors now available from Chinese semiconductor vendors. It may use a Longsoon-2F chip, or perhaps the Ingenic Jz4740 Multimedia Application Processor, which powers Bestlink's $250 ($180 in volume) Alpha 400 mini-notebook and 3K's $300 RazorBook 400-Mini-Notebook, two other Linux-based models out of China. Both processors use MIPS-like cores.

According to the Techvideoblog story, the HiVision miniNote laptop offers 1GB of flash, expandable via an SD card slot. It has 128MB of RAM, built-in WiFi and Ethernet, three USB ports, and audio I/O. Software includes Abiword, and multi-tabbed Firefox browser support. HiVision offers “secure online software updates,” according to the report.

HiVision MiniNote UI
(Source: Techvideoblog)

HiVision did not respond by press time to requests for technical information about its MIPS-based mini-note products. The company also manufactures digital photo frames, as well as a number of Linux-compatible notebooks and smaller netbooks based on the Via C7-M, clocked at 1.6GHz, with a 400MHZ FSB. These include the NB0700, NB0800, NB0890, and NB1020, with the numbers in each name referring to the screen sizes, ranging from 7- to 10.2 inches.

HiVision's NB0700
(Click to enlarge)

The NB0700 pictured at right offers 512MB DDR2, a 30GB hard drive, and a 7-inch 800×480 backlit display. Other features include an Ethernet port, 802.11 b/g WiFi, two USB 2.0 ports, an SD card reader, microphone and speakers, and VGA output. The NB0700 is said to offer three hours of battery life and weighs just under two pounds (900 grams). The site does not specify what type of Linux is used.


According to the Techvideoblog story, which offers a long video of a sample review model obtained for one night, the HiVision miniNote is available now, priced at $120. A new lower-cost model will be available for a volume wholesale price of $98 in October.

HiVision's site, which offers pages devoted to its NBx line of notebooks, but which at press time has yet to post information on the new miniNote, should be available here. The full Techvideoblog story may be available here.

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